Calling Rastafari

Though it’s been noted that Winston Rodney, better known to reggae
devotees as Burning Spear, has but a few songs to sing, no one
complains when he releases his latest collection of variations on
those tunes. He has maintained an exacting standard of quality
during 30 years of recording, and his performances on Calling
rank with his best work of the early ’70s. Rodney
himself and Sticky Thompson, the latter a veteran of literally
thousands of reggae sessions, provide the signature primal pulse of
hand drumming, which links Spear’s current, sophisticated work to
the nyabingi percussion of his Rastafarian faith. Though his
lyrics acknowledge the fickle attentions of those seduced from his
roots reggae by the more fashionable, computer-driven dancehall
sounds of the past decade, Burning Spear is secure in his craft.
His dreadlocks may be longer and his beard is now gray, but Spear
shows no signs of musical age, as witnessed by vibrant tracks like
Hallelujah and Let’s Move, and the lion’s share of his new
compositions. From the first one-drop drum stroke to the final dub
echoes of Holy Man, Calling Rastafari finds Spear entering
the new millennium with a top-ranking set. Heartbeat.

FromEscape(Nov., 1999.)
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